Additional Information on
Nikon AF-Nikkor 18mm f/2.8D ultrawideangle lens

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Background & a Quick Reference on Version History Nikon has produced some of the best non-Fisheye ultrawideangle lenses for the last 30+ years or so. The 2.1cm f/4-16 Nikkor-O ultrawide which was originally designed for the rangefinder Nikon has been replicated in a reflex version in 1959; it requires external viewing aid accessory. The first true ultrawide for TTL viewing was a 1967's 20mm f/3.5 UD Auto Nikkor. While the Fisheye Nikkor lens group command during he '60 with lenses like OP-Nikkor 10mm; Fisheye Nikkor 7.5mm f/5.6, Fisheye-Nikkor 8mm f/8.0 (1962); Fisheye 6mm f/5.6 (1969 / Fisheye-Nikkor 8mm f/2.8, followed by the Fisheye-Nikkor 6mm f/2.8 around 1970/1972; and with the Reflex-Nikkor 2000mm f/11 - Nikon 35mm SLR photographic system can easily acclaimed as having the most comprehensive / extensive in selection of various lens types, varieties and completeness.

As for the non-Fisheye Nikkor lens group; Nikon has broke the technological barrier with the earlier 20mm f/3.5 UD Auto-Nikkor (1973) by releasing a True ultrawide QD.C 1:5.6 f=15mm AUTO Nikkor, it was followed by the incredible ultrawide Nikkor 13mm f/5.61976; by the way, even today, the 13mm Nikkor is still being regarded as world's widest ultrawideangle lens in 35mm photography. In between, Nikon bridged with a 18mm between 15 and 20mm with a Nikkor 18mm f/4.0 (13E/9G) in 1974. The said lens possibly has gone through a brief cosmetic upgrade after its debut. The Ai-spec Nikkor 18mm f/4.0 was a direct upgrade from the pre-Ai version in 1977 and the last of the series was the Ai-S spec pre-AF Ai-S Nikkor 18mm f/3.5s of 1982. This Ai-S version was a completely redesigned lens with 11 elements in 10 groups design. This fabulous Nikkor ultrawideangle has served many professionals and serious Nikon photographers for many decades; it even stretched its way to the first quarter of the '90, until one fine day Nikon has finally decided it was time for a dedicated autofocus version to replace the manual focus version and this was finally realized in 1993.

NOTE: All those Fisheye-Nikkor lenses mentioned above are of circular format; the current full-frame 180° Fisheye Nikkor 16mm lens is an AF Fisheye-Nikkor 16mm f/2.8D while version history can be found by CLICKING HERE first.

old non Ai Nikon Manual focus Nikkor 18mm f/4.0  ultrawideangle lens

Nikon's Manual focus Nikkor 18mm f/4.0 Ai ultrawideangle lens LINK

Optical contruction used for non Ai and Ai Nikkor 18mm f/4.0 version

Optical construction used inn on-Ai, Ai f4

Detailed DOF chart for f/4.0 (applicable to Ai-Nikkor 18mm f/4.0

Optical contruction used for Nikkor 18mm f/3.5 Ai-s spec version

Revised optical construction used
for this classic Ai-S f/3.5 Nikkor ultra wideangle lens

Nikon Manual focus Nikkor 18mm f/3.5 Ai-S ultrawideangle lens

Early Non Ai 18mm f/4.0 & Ai-Nikkor version 13 elements in 9 groups

Ai-S 18mm f/3.5 11 elements in 10 groups

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Nikon AF Nikkor 18mm f/2.8D ultrawideangle lens
Marketed 10.1993; Discontinued: 2006

For a long stretch of 8 years or so since Nikon began shipping their autofocus camera and lenses from 1986; Nikon photographers who wished to look for an autofocus ultrawideangle lens that offered a wider field of view than the AF Nikkor 20mm f/2.8S (1989) can be quite frustrating - as there was NO workable solution. For those who required one to serve their needs, you just had to fall back on one of those older manual focus versions of 13mm, 15mm and 18mm. The lack of an equivalent autofocus ultrawideangle lens in the Autofocus Nikkor lens group was apparent during this period. That was why all the while many of the manual focus Nikkor lenses were still being produced by Nikon even after 20 years Nikon has turned their effort to autofocus (UPDATE: Nikon has announced discontinuation for many of them in 2006). One way or another, many of the surviving manual focus Nikkor lenses actually were benefited from development of latest Nikon innovations, a typical example was the lens coating process of SIC from NIC. I would not like to speculate what the hell was going wrong with Nikon during the 2nd half of their professional Nikon F4(s) era, where we witnessed development on both AF system as well as on the AF Nikkor lenses was far lagged behind the competitions, actually the slow realization of an AF ultrawide was also mirroring this fact. Some have argued there was no necessity to introduce an AF ultrawide in such a hurry as the unique optical characteristic of an ultrawide lens has made focusing with an AF camera a less concerned issue due its extensive depth of field generates. Well, probably Nikon thought photographers should know how to make use of their older manual focus Nikkor ultrawide to compensate in the lack of an autofocus version.

So, when the AF Nikkor 18mm f/2.8D was finally announced in October, 1993 (it was released along with a few other exciting AF Nikkor lenses such as the AF Micro-Nikkor 200mm f/4.0D; AF Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D; AF Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/.8D; as well as with a revision of AF Nikkor 24mm f/2.8D and two other mid price D-spec zoom lenses). "Exciting" may not the right word, as I simply bought a few of them as my startup kit for my Nikon F5 a few years later after careful evaluation of my own needs. I guess we consumers do know how to spent our hard earned $$$ smartly, it is a note Nikon should ALWAYS understand. I was convinced these lenses that I have bought worth the my cash spent.
The AF Nikkor 18mm f/2.8D was introduced as a native AF-D spec ultrawideangle lens. Until up to eventual debut of the AF-S Nikkor 14mm f/2.8D ED in 2003; this AF Nikkor 18mm lens has remained as the only option of a fixed focal length ultrawide beyond the 20mm focal length. The 10 years of wait probably may provide some justification as Nikon seemingly had poured some real effort by designing this lens from ground up. As compare to the old classic manual focus 18mm, Nikon has improved it in a few areas. Firstly, the AF-D ultrawide lens has been boosted with a faster maximum lens speed of f/2.8 from f/3.5. Internally, it uses an all new optical design in a rather complex 13 lens elements in 10 groups optical train. To counter any possible common aberrations commonly found in ultrawideangle lens design, an aspherical* lens element has been added, which serves in suppressing coma and spherical aberrations and partly contributes to its overall high image definition. The lens can focus down to a minimum distance of 0.25m (0.85 ft) and delivers a magnification ratio of approx. 1/9.1 - it was slightly weaker than the MF counterpart in this area. Further, Nikon also incorporated the lens with a Close Range Optical Correction System so as to auto compensate via its rear optical groups to retain its excellent optical quality when shooting in close distances.
* Typically, Nikon provides three ways in the production of aspherical lens elements. i.e. precision ground, hybrid and where this AF-D 18mm lens uses a molded type. It was manufactured by moulding a unique optical glass type onto the primary glass element via a special metal die technique by Nikon.

Credit: Image(s) courtesy of 'Shutterblade team' (e-mail)who specializes trading of new, used collectable cameras. The Company also operates a popular Ebay Store. All image(s) appeared herein are Copyright © 2005. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

Emphasizing space and dimension by CY Leow
Emphasiszing space and dimension via use of an ultrawide.

: Image courtesy of my good friend CY LEOW, ex-photo editor of the Star Newspaper. Image copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

Nikon AF Nikkor 18mm f/2.8D Ultra-wideangle lens downloaded from Roland Vink site
Externally, the AF Nikkor 18mm f/2.8D has a lovely and inviting appearance. Other than the aperture ring, the entire lens barrel has been coated with professionally-look hammered-metal finishing. One of the reason that contributes to its distinctive look was the very large 77mm diameter of the filter ring and the half dome front lens element. When the lens coating of the front lens element interacting with a light source simply changes colours from all directions). Along with the weight factor (385g (13.6oz) - all these have helped to generate a sense of quality and very rugged feel. Although the filter ring can be considered sufficiently well stretching outward to protect the front lens element, but care must be taken to avoid during lens handling or interchanging to avoid accidental scratching its front surface. The improved light gathering power probably has to do with the enlarged odd-size filter diameter and may not be entirely a popular decision as it makes sharing of filter accessories less convenient and adding the fact that any 77mm special filters or other accessories are usually damn bloody expensive as compared to other easy accessible size such as 72mm.

Note:- The lens uses a HB-8 lens hood (Nikon Polarizer II will work even with it HB-8 attached). Anyway, it is not always must that getting an ultrawide must also use a polarizer but due to its sweeping wide picture angle and if if you shooting outdoor such as landscape photography, it will easily include a wide proportion of space such as sky in a photo composition and thus, many photographers make use of a polarizer to enhance the color density in their picture. This AF-D 18mm has 7 steps aperture values from f/2.8 through f/22. The minimum f-number of this lens is a very usable f/22 to couple it with its close focus capability. For other general photography, generally DOF control in a super-ultrawide is a less problematic issue as from selection of a mid aperture value or smaller onwards in a medium focused distance, depth of field will easily ensure most picture elements in the composition renders sharply across the focusing range. The only slight flaw found in this lens was the lack of other mid aperture DOF scales such as f/5.6 or f/4.0 as quick on lens visual reference. Instead it only provides a compromised guide for f/8.0 and f/16.

Due to its straight forward design, lens handling couldn't be more appealing. Nikon has designed it with a rather very short rotation for focusing from nearest distance to infinity. This could has been the reason why it focuses so responsively with my Nikon. Various controls and lens function are very well illustrated. The hard rubberized covered manual focusing ring has a double rows grip. As I do have a mix of use with both MF and AF bodies, although I wish it has three rows but it is still comfortable to operate and the ring provides smooth and effortless manual handling.

Credit: Image(s) courtesy of 'Shutterblade team' (e-mail)who specializes trading of new, used collectable cameras. The Company also operates a popular Ebay Store. All image(s) appeared herein are Copyright © 2005. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.
Optically, ultrawides usually relates to a unique feature of rectilinearness - images will render straight lines as straight lines in an image. Although they distort at edges but the rectilinear retains Combining its extensive picture coverage and exaggeration of sizes and scales with any object that is close to the them, by selecting the right image subject and adding elements such as shadows, near objects to far and deep colors, you can simply get very eye arresting visual. Naturally, the application of this 18mm ultrawide can be extensive and provides you to handle common usage such as shooting tight interiors, architecture of of large dimensions, panoramic landscapes or covering quick events for journalist or a news reporter. I am aware of the availability of other high performance ultrawideangle AF zoom lenses such as the current AF-S Zoom Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8D ED-IF where it provides a more versatile way of shooting. But the AF Nikkor 18mm f/2.8D has its own strength in portability and very simple to use which may be even assist you to be more responsive with quick snap. Well, most might disagree and so did Nikon. Perhaps, the emergence of modern super ultra-wide zoom has began to cast their influences and this may be the reason why it has been phased out in the recent 2006 product streamlining exercise by Nikon. Lastly, Nikon did thoughtful provides a list of standard accessories for this lovely AF-D 18mm ultrawide: A steady hard lens case CL-47, 77mm front cap, rear cap LF-1 but the HB-8 was sold as an optional in some markets.

outdoor fountain by Michael Mathews 's 18mm lens
Shutter speed at play on a sunny morning...if you align the subject matter well, it will stealth itself as an ultrawide.

: Image courtesy of Dr. Michael Mathews, Coppell, Texas, whose online PORTFOLIO can be accessed at PBase. Image copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

Ultrawide beyond the practical 20mm usually demands a great deal of attention when shooting. The applicable usage and subject matter can be quite restrictive to deliver good results. Use it wisely & creatively, it will reward you to conclude this is one hell of a fantastic optic. But if you screw-up frequently with undesirable results, the lens will usually be the scapegoat. Basically, this is a very easy to use lens but just difficult to master, that is all. On its own as an ultrawide, this AF Nikkor 18mm f/2.8D provides a practical lens speed, superb built and finishing, top class image resolution and embodies with a wide system compatibility for many MF/AF Nikon SLR cameras, be it film or digital based. For Nikon bodies that enables 3D Matrix Metering, it delivers its optimum performance. So, that is actually nothing that you can pick on purely from the lens specification or lens design itself. If you consistently yield negative results, it simple goes to incapability to master it right rather than concluding it was hardware that causes the issues. My best advice is, via peeping through the lens, think before you trip the shutter release - is it a good composition, will I be proud to share with my friends with this shot ? If not, try another composition or change the perspective or explore other manners. These should help a great deal.

Over the years, I have always wanted to acquire another Nikkor ultrawide. Even back in the mid '90 this lens was not all that cheap. I remembered it had a street price tag of approx. 1K USD but strangely, it is now soaring up after Nikon has announced the discontinuation of it. Perhaps, those Nikon collectors who may be really appreciate its value have help to elevate the pricing now at the used equipment market. I have told you earlier that I have bought some lenses way back in 1996 right ? When the Nikon marketing manager brought these few goodies for me to select, I was actually struggling inside between a more viable lens speed of the AF Nikkor 28mm f/1.4D or choose picture angle of this AF-D 18mm provides - eventually I had ended up with the 28mm because personally I guess lens speed suits my needs more than picture angles. Further, I was actually having other thought of either getting myself with a Manual Focus Nikkor 15mm f/3.5s. Well, with the AF-S 14mm around now, probably I have another option.

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Technical Specifications for AF-Nikkor 20mm f/2.8s ultra-wideangle lens:-

Type of lense: Autofocus Nikkor fixed focal lens with built-in CPU and Nikon bayonet mount
Focal length: 18mm
Maximum aperture: f/2.8; Minimum Aperture: f/22
Lens construction: 13 elements in 10 groups with CRC floating lens elements for close focusing
Picture angle: 100°
Picture angle with Nikon DX Format digital SLR cameras: 76°

autofocus AF-Nikkor 18mm f/2.8D Ai-S ultrawideangle lens setup
Distance scale: Graduated in meters and feet/inches from 0.25m (0.85ft) to infinity (OO)
Distance information: Relay via built in chip to camera body; Manual focus: rangefinder AF assist possible
Reproduction ratio: 1:9.1 maximum

Credit: Image(s) courtesy of 'Shutterblade's Ebay Store. All image(s) appeared herein are Copyright © 2005.

Aperture scale: f/2.8 to f/22 on both standard and aperture-direct-readout scales
Minimum aperture lock: Slide-type Provided
Depth of Field Scales: provided for f/8.0 and f/16 only
External front filter attachment frame: does not rotate

Optical group for AF Nikkor 18mm f/2.8D ultrawideangle lens Nikon published MTF chart for eavaltion for AF Nikkor 18mm f/2.8D ultrawideangle lens
Diaphragm: Fully automatic, 7 blades; Lens Coating: SIC (Nikon Super Integrated Coating)
Exposure measurement: Via full-aperture method for Ai Nikon SLR cameras or compatible Nikon SLRs cameras with CPU interface system
Mount: Nikon bayonet mount; Attachment size: 77mm (P=0.75mm)
Standard accessories: 77mm Snap-On front lens cap; Rear lens cap LF-1; Hard lens case: CL-47; Bayonet lens hood HB-8
Optional Accessories: 77mm screw-in filters,

Others:- AF-3:- Usable, but vignetting may occur at i (infinity) and macro settings. (0); AF-4:- Usable. (0): ( ) Indicates maximum number of usable hoods (HN-36 for AF-3/HN-37 for AF-4). (always ask before buying).
Dimensions: Approx. 82mm (3.2") dia. x 58mm (2.3"); Weight: Approx. 380g (13.6 oz.)

Usable Nikon Teleconverter: - TC-201S, TC-14AS usable but meaningless to do so.

NOTE: Production Serial Numbers believed to have started from 200001 for this AF-D Nikkor ultrawideangle lense < < 200784 - 204254 > > - Roland Vinks's data sheet -

Nikon AF Nikkor 18mm f/2.8D Ultra-wideangle lens downlaoded from Roland Vink site
| NEXT | Alternate cheaper Nikon AF-Nikkor 20mm f/2.8 Ultra-wideangle lens

Version History: | MF Nikkor 18mm f/4.0 Non-Ai | MF Nikkor 18mm f/4.0 Pre-Ai | MF Nikkor 18mm f/4.0 Ai | MF Nikkor 18mm f/3.5s Ai-S |

Some suggestive reading reference of this 20mm wideangle lens on the web (External Links): Photonet forum discussion on this lens; Ken Rockwell's one-page summary; Ebay Search on prices and quick price guide at Dealtime / Epinion fro new and used AF Nikkor 18mm f/2.8D CNET NY Times review; Nikon Imaging brief summary

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Others: Noct Nikkor | OP-Nikkor | UV Nikkor 55mm 105mm | Focusing Units | Bellows-Nikkor 105mm 135mm
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Recommended links to understand more technical details related to the Nikkor F-mount and production Serial Number: by: my friend, Rick Oleson by: Hansen, Lars Holst

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